How To Be A Better Presenter: 10 Easy Actionable Steps
Characteristics & Qualities Of A Good Presenter
When you think of a presenter, who comes to mind? Is it a professor from grad school, a salesperson doing a master sales pitch, a politician or a political advocate? There’s no right or wrong answer. Whoever you thought of clearly made an impact with you, the audience, which is the ultimate goal of a presenter when they speak.
Whether it’s a speech, story, public speaking event or sharing an idea, throughout history, humans have been connecting with one another through the power of verbal communication and their words. In their own capacity, these can all be regarded as a presentation. But what gives the presenters their success? What defines the difference between an average presenter and a great presenter?
Boiling down each presenter, we can start to see similarities between them. These are the characteristics and qualities of a great presenter.
Confidence – The presenter has confidence in what they’re saying.
Audience Engagement – The presenter is connecting with the audience in some capacity whether it’s direct dialogue, an emotional appeal or recalling a shared experience.
Charisma – The presenter is able to easily express and convey emotion in their voice while they’re speaking.
Control – The presenter is in control of the entire presentation and the attention of the audience.
Examples Of World Class Presenters
We’ve compiled a list of presenters who we think do an excellent job at embodying the characteristics and qualities of a good presenter. We’ve also attached a link to an example presentation of theirs.
Before you begin your journey on becoming a better presenter, create your own list of presenters who you think are great speakers. Write down what about them engages you. Try to dissect their presentation into digestible action points you can incorporate in your next presentation.
10 Key Points On Improving Your Presentation Skills
1 – Know Your Topic
Before you even begin preparing your presentation, you need to know your topic inside and out. Depending on the presentation, your audience will expect you to know a fair amount of information on the topic you’re presenting.
Being knowledgeable on the topic you’re about to present will help you craft and deliver a better presentation overall.
It will also allow you to seamlessly continue presenting on the topic or “wing it” should you forget a line. As long as you remember the core message, you should be able to continue talking without the audience knowing you forgot something.
Being knowledgeable on your topic will also help you engage with your audience.
If you’re presenting on a topic where there are many passionate people, having additional knowledge will allow you to talk to very niche experiences only those who are heavily invested in the topic would understand.
2 – Know Your Audience
Now that you have a solid foundation on the content, you now need to think about your audience. Depending on your audience, you’ll need to adapt your presentation to what matters to them.
A good tip is to highlight certain points that you plan on discussing and color code each point based on the audience member it applies to. Next, you’ll need to think of an emotional appeal that resonates with them. This is the hook that keeps them latched in and engaged.
3 – Outline Your Presentation
Once the preliminary work is done, you can begin crafting your presentation.
A good place to start is by jotting down all the ideas you want to share with the audience while presenting. What are the main takeaways you want the audience to leave with? Any idea that comes to mind, write it down.
Later, when you’re crafting your slides, you can begin narrowing down the ideas. If something doesn’t support the overall narrative, don’t be afraid to get rid of it.
4 – Use Visual Aids
It’s a great idea to accompany your presentation with visual aids.
You want to avoid using too much text throughout your slide show. A quick solution to this is to use bullet points wherever possible. If you use too much text, your audience will be too focused on reading rather than listening to what you have to say.
Instead, you want your visual aid to be captivating and help tell the story. Of course, designing a presentation deck can be time-consuming or even difficult if you find yourself not to be a creative person.
Luckily, there are presentation design services such as Presentation Geeks which can not only help save you time but help develop a presentation that is proven to captivate your audience. Whether you’re developing a PowerPoint deck, e-learning solutions, a sizzle reel or even motion graphics, you can save yourself the time and aggravation with Presentation Geeks.
5 – Tell A Story
Humans are social creatures and love a good story. A story helps paint an effective picture.
Stories are also easy to follow as we’ve grown up with them since we were kids. If you want your audience to easily remember your presentation while still being engaged, craft a story. Even if it’s a simple three-structure story with a beginning, middle and end.
6 – Practice
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.
This is true no matter what you do. Whether you’re learning something new or becoming a master of your craft, practice is the way to do it. To become a master presenter, you must practice, practice and practice. Studies show that by practicing your presentation at least 10 times before you present, you’ll set yourself apart from the rest, it will boost your confidence and it will improve your body language.
One good way to practice is to record yourself. By taking a video recording of yourself, you’ll be able to playback the video so you can see your use of body language and hear the cadence, pitch and tone of your voice. You’ll want to listen carefully for any filler words you may find yourself using and eliminate them.
7 – Use Body Language
Don’t forget that your body is a communication tool you need to take full advantage of. Using body language will help you be more engaging with your audience.
You can use body language to help get a message across, point out certain details of a story and emphasize key facts.
Be careful though. Using too much body language will start to become a distraction and will make your presentation worse.
8 – Move Around
Being a talking statue is one way to lose the attention of your audience. Take command of the room and walk around.
Moving around allows you to engage with the audience. Depending on the venue, you may be able to walk through the aisles and get closer to audience members creating a one-on-one connection with them.
Moving around also helps keep your audience focused. If you’re standing in one place, the audience only has to use their ears. If you’re moving around, the audience will need to follow you with their eyes, neck, and even their entire body positioning depending on how much you move. As with body language, move with moderation to avoid being a distraction.
9 – Don’t Rush
When people get nervous, they tend to rush.
They want to finish the presentation so they can get off stage and deflect the attention that’s on them. Rushing will only harm your presentation skills, especially if you’re presenting complicated information.
Don’t be afraid to take a break while presenting, it will help steady those presentation nerves.
Take a sip of water.
By having these small breaks, you’re not only keeping a steady pace, you’re actually benefiting yourself and the audience.
For you, the benefits are you can relax and maintain your focus. You also exemplify that you’re in control of the situation and the presentation.
The benefits for your audience is it allows them to process information. If you just told a very important fact, quote, statistic or piece of data, pausing will allow the information to sink in before you go on to your next thought. This will make your presentation more memorable.
10 – Arrive Early
This last tip is by far the most important tip most presentations and most people fail at. This separates a majority of speakers from being good vs. great.
You may be wondering how does arriving early make you a better presenter? Arriving early will allow you to get familiar with the venue, see if you need to change things and decide how you can implement all the above tips wherever you’re presenting.
When arriving early, consider relaxation techniques to get comfortable. Once you’re settled in, practice your presentation one or two times as you would if it were live. Use all the presentation tools you plan to use like a computer, videos, slides, walking around the stage, etc. This will help you detect any issues.
Doing a dress rehearsal with all the technology you’ll use can save your entire presentation.
Even small hiccups during your live presentation can ruin the trust your audience has in you, even if the issue isn’t your fault. Be sure to check the sound, pre-load any videos in case you can’t connect to the internet later on and make sure the projector or screen works.
So, Here Are Our Tips On How To Be A Better Presenter. What’s Next?
Of course, the only way to become a better presenter is to do more public speaking. Apply the skills you have learned in front of audiences, in videos, in person and on webinars. Oh, and if you need some awesome slides to engage the room from a visual standpoint, Presentation Geeks is here to help. We’ve designed thousands of outstanding presentations for companies of all sizes.,